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The Italian Greyhound is a small breed of dog, specifically a member of the sight hound family and member of the toy group. They are sometimes called an "I.G." or "Iggy" for short. The Italian Greyhound is the smallest of the sight hounds, typically weighing about 7 to 11 lbs or so. Standing about 13 to 15 in tall at the shoulder or whithers. Though they are in the "toy" group by their weight, they physically occupy more space because of their skinny bodies, so owners must be careful when sizing clothing or accommodations.
The Italian Greyhound is affectionate and makes a good companion dog. The breed is excellent for families and enjoys the company of people. While they are excellent with children, the breed's slim build and short coat makes them somewhat fragile, and injury can result from rough play. Although the Italian Greyhound appears fragile, they have some characteristics of larger dogs. Their large, strong lungs enables a bark that is deeper than one might expect from a small dog.
The breed is equally at home in the city or the country, and does not require as much exercise as larger breeds, although they are fast, agile and athletic. The young dog is often particularly active, and this high level of activity may lead them to attempt ill-advised feats of athleticism that can result in injury. They enjoy running as fast as they possibly can, typically faster than other larger dogs. In general the Italian Greyhound is intelligent, but they often have a "what's in it for me attitude" so patience and reward in training seems to work best.
Italian Greyhounds make a reasonably good watch-dog, as they bark at unfamiliar sounds. They may also bark at passers by and other animals. However, they often get along well with other dogs and cats they are raised with. They are not good guard dogs though as they are often aloof with strangers and easily spooked to run. Due to their slim build and extremely short coat, Italian Greyhounds are at times reluctant to go outside in cold or wet weather, so some owners lay old newspaper on the floor near an exit so their pets can relieve themselves. This breed tends to gravitate to warm places, curl up with other dogs or humans, or burrow into blankets and under cushions for warmth.
As gazehounds, Italian Greyhounds instinctively hunt by sight and have a high prey drive. Owners of Italian Greyhounds typically keep their dogs leashed at all times when not in an enclosed area to avoid the risk of even a well-behaved pet breaking away at high speed after a small animal. Like most small breeds, Italian Greyhounds have small bladders. Housebreaking progresses with training and patience, but still at a slower pace than with larger breeds. Train your pup using Cesar Millan's Dog Whisperer tips!
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